US5012038A - Zeolitic para-xylene separation with diethyltoluene heavy desorbent - Google Patents

Zeolitic para-xylene separation with diethyltoluene heavy desorbent Download PDF

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US5012038A
US5012038A US07389024 US38902489A US5012038A US 5012038 A US5012038 A US 5012038A US 07389024 US07389024 US 07389024 US 38902489 A US38902489 A US 38902489A US 5012038 A US5012038 A US 5012038A
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xylene
desorbent
adsorbent
isomers
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Hermann A. Zinnen
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Honeywell UOP LLC
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    • C07C7/12Purification; Separation; Use of additives by adsorption, i.e. purification or separation of hydrocarbons with the aid of solids, e.g. with ion-exchangers
    • C07C7/13Purification; Separation; Use of additives by adsorption, i.e. purification or separation of hydrocarbons with the aid of solids, e.g. with ion-exchangers by molecular-sieve technique

Abstract

A chromatographic process able to separate para-xylene from C8 isomers and C9 aromatics. In the process, the para-xylene-containing feed mixture is contacted with an X or Y zeolite adsorbent having Group IA or IIA cations, e.g., barium and/or potassium at exchangeable cationic sites. The para-xylene is selectively adsorbed onto the adsorbent. The feed is then removed from the adsorbent and the para-xylene recovered by desorption with diethyltoluene. The C9 's and the other xylene isomers in the raffinate, can be separated from this heavy desorbent by fractionation of the raffinate and the desorbent recycled to the process. The preferred desorbents are 2,3-diethyltoluene, 2,5-diethyltoluene and 2,6-diethyltoluene.

Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Ser. No. 197,740, filed May 23, 1988, now U.S. Pat. No. 4,864,069.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The field of art to which the claimed invention pertains is hydrocarbon separation. More specifically, the invention relates to a process for separating para-xylene from a feed mixture comprising at least two xylene isomers, including the para-isomer, which process employs a zeolitic adsorbent and particular desorbents. It is particularly advantageous in a process in which the feed also contains C9 aromatic hydrocarbons.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In numerous processes described in the patent literature, for example U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,626,020 to Neuzil, 3,663,638 to Neuzil, 3,665,046 to deRosset, 3,668,266 to Chen et al., 3,686,342 to Neuzil et al., 3,700,744 to Berger et al., 3,734,974 to Neuzil, 3,894,109 to Rosback, 3,997,620 to Neuzil and B426,274 to Hedge, particular zeolitic adsorbents are used to separate the para isomer of dialkyl substituted monocyclic aromatics from the other isomers, particularly para-xylene from other xylene isomers. Many of the above patents use benzene, toluene, or p-diethylbenzene as the desorbent. P-diethylbenzene (p-DEB) has become a commercial standard for this separation. However, p-DEB is a "heavy" desorbent (higher boiling than p-xylene) which suffers in the process for separating p-xylene from feed mixtures containing C9 aromatics because the boiling point of p-DEB is too close to the boiling point of C9 aromatics in the feed. Because the C9 aromatics are difficult to separate from p-DEB by simple fractionation, the C9 aromatics would gradually build up in the desorbent, which must be recycled for economic reasons. In the commercial process for recovering p-xylene from feed mixtures containing isomers, therefore, it has been necessary to reduce C9 aromatics in the feed to below about 0.1% prior to the adsorptive separation of p-xylenes. This is usually done by distillation in a so-called xylene splitter column. Of course, substantial costs associated with this practice, such as capital costs of the xylene splitter and utilities necessary to achieve substantially complete removal of the C9 aromatics, could be reduced greatly or eliminated if it were not necessary to first remove C9 aromatics. Thus, while U.S. Pat. No. 3,686,342, supra, mentions other substituted benzenes as possible heavy desorbents for the para-xylene separation process, that reference clearly states that p-DEB is the best desorbent for the separation and, further, does not address the problem that the preferred desorbents may have in separating feeds containing C9 aromatics. Therefore, a higher boiling point material, that meets the selectivity requirements for desorbents and can be separated from C9 aromatics, has been long sought and is still desirable.

It is also known that crystalline aluminosilicates or zeolites are used in adsorption separations of various mixtures in the form of agglomerates having high physical strength and attrition resistance. Methods for forming the crystalline powders into such agglomerates include the addition of an inorganic binder, generally a clay comprising a silicon dioxide and aluminum oxide, to the high purity zeolite powder in wet mixture. The blended clay zeolite mixture is extruded into cylindrical type pellets or formed into beads which are subsequently calcined in order to convert the clay to an amorphous binder of considerable mechanical strength. As binders, clays of the kaolin type, water permeable organic polymers or silica are generally used.

The invention herein can be practiced in fixed or moving adsorbent bed systems, but the preferred system for this separation is a countercurrent simulated moving bed system, such as described in Broughton U.S. Pat. No. 2,985,589, incorporated herein by reference. Cyclic advancement of the input and output streams can be accomplished by a manifolding system, which are also known, e.g., by rotary disc valves shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,040,777 and 3,422,848. Equipment utilizing these principles are familiar, in sizes ranging from pilot plant scale (deRosset U.S. Pat. No. 3,706,812) to commercial scale in flow rates from a few cc per hour to many thousands of gallons per hour.

The invention may also be practiced in a cocurrent, pulsed batch process, like that described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,159,284.

Also, in some cases illustrated herein, it is necessary to remove three product streams in order to obtain a desired product intermediate in adsorption strength from an extract and a raffinate stream. This intermediate stream can be termed a second raffinate stream, as in U.S. Pat. No. 4,313,015 or a second extract stream, as in U.S. Pat. No. 3,723,302, both incorporated herein by reference, the latter incorporating abandoned application Ser. No. 100,105 filed Dec. 21, 1970. This case pertains when a contaminating component in the feed, such as p-ethyltoluene, is more strongly adsorbed than the desired product, p-xylene. It is not always necessary to remove p-ethyltoluene from p-xylene, e.g., where terephthalic acid is the final product of the oxidation of p-xylene, since oxidation of p-ethyltoluene results in the same product. However, if it is desired to keep the concentration of the contaminating component in the product as low as possible, a first extract is taken off, high in concentration of the desired component and lower in the contaminating product followed by a second extract withdrawn at a point in zone 3 between the desorbent inlet and the first extract point, containing a high concentration of the contaminant and a lower concentration of the desired product. It is not necessary, however, to use a second desorbent, if the desorbent is able to first desorb the lightly held product and then desorb the remaining more strongly held contaminants, as disclosed in the aforementioned abandoned application. If the contaminating component in high concentrations and purity is desired, this can be achieved by withdrawing a second extract in the cocurrent pulsed batch process mentioned above.

The functions and properties of adsorbents and desorbents in the chromatographic separation of liquid components are well-known, but for reference thereto, Zinnen et al. U.S. Pat. No. 4,642,397 is incorporated herein.

I have discovered a process for employing a zeolite adsorbent for the separation of p-xylene from its isomers and, particularly, a desorbent which is a substantial improvement in a process for separating xylene isomers where the feed mixture also contains C9 aromatic impurities.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In brief summary, the invention is a chromatographic process for separating p-xylene from a feed mixture comprising p-xylene and C9 aromatic hydrocarbons and optionally, one or more additional xylene isomers (including ethylbenzene) comprising contacting said feed mixture with an X- or Y-type zeolite exchanged with Group IA or IIA metal ions at exchangeable cationic sites to effect the selective adsorption of said p-xylene and produce a raffinate comprising the other xylene isomers, including ethylbenzene and C9 aromatics. P-xylene is recovered by contacting the adsorbent with a desorbent comprising diethyltoluene (DET). As used herein, diethyltoluene is intended to signify each of the isomers and any mixture thereof. The preferred individual isomers are 2,3-DET, 2,5-DET and 2,6 DET since they, or mixtures of any of these three, provide greater selectivity for p-xylene and higher desorption rates in the separation process. A preferred desorbent will contain at least about 40% (wt.) and up to about 98% (wt.) of one or more of the preferred isomers. The desorbent is higher boiling (e.g., 3,5-diethyltoluene: b.p.=205° C.) than the C9 aromatics, making it possible to separate the C9 's from the desorbent by simple fractionation so that the desorbent can be reused in the process without building up C9 aromatics in the recycled desorbent. The invention, in another aspect, is a process for separating C9 aromatics from a feed mixture of C9 aromatics and p-xylene.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a chromatographic representation of the separation of p-xylene from a mixture of xylene isomers and C9 aromatics with a K-exchanged Y zeolite and a desorbent comprising a 30/70 mixture of diethyltoluene and n-heptane.

FIG. 2 is similar to FIG. 1 except that the adsorbent is BaX zeolite and the desorbent is 100% diethyltoluene isomers.

FIG. 3 shows the separation of the isomers of diethyltoluene with BaX zeolite using p-xylene as desorbent.

FIGS. 4 and 5 are similar to FIG. 2 except that the desorbents are different mixtures of individual DET isomers.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Adsorbents to be used in the process of this invention comprise specific crystalline aluminosilicates or molecular sieves, namely X and Y zeolites. The zeolites have known cage structures in which the alumina and silica tetrahedra are intimately connected in an open three-dimensional network to form cage-like structures with window like pores. The tetrahedra are cross-linked by the sharing of oxygen atoms with spaces between the tetrahedra occupied by water molecules prior to partial or total dehydration of this zeolite. The dehydration of the zeolite results in crystals interlaced with cells having molecular dimensions and thus, the crystalline aluminosilicates are often referred to as "molecular sieves" when the separation which they effect is dependent essentially upon differences between the sizes of the feed molecules as, for instance, when smaller normal paraffin molecules are separated from larger isoparaffin molecules by using a particular molecular sieve. In the process of this invention, however, the term "molecular sieves", although widely used, is not strictly suitable since the separation of specific aromatic isomers is apparently dependent on differences in electrochemical attraction of the different isomers and the adsorbent rather than on pure physical size differences in the isomer molecules.

In hydrated form, the crystalline aluminosilicates encompass type X zeolites which are represented by Formula 1 below in terms of moles of oxides:

(0.9±0.2)M.sub.2/n O:Al.sub.2 O.sub.3 :(2.5±0.5)SiO.sub.2 :yH.sub.2 OFormula 1

where "M" is a cation having a valence of not more than 3 which balances the electrovalence of the tetrahedra and is generally referred to as an exchangeable cationic site, "n" represents the valence of the cation, and "y", which represents the moles of water, is a value up to about 9 depending upon the identity of "M" and the degree of hydration of the crystal. As noted from Formula 1, the SiO2 /Al2 O3 mole ratio is 2.5±0.5. The cation "M" may be monovalent, divalent or trivalent cations or mixtures thereof.

The type Y structured zeolite, in the hydrated or partially hydrated form, can be similarly represented in terms of moles of oxides as in Formula 2 below:

(0.9±0.2)M.sub.2/n O:Al.sub.2 O.sub.3 :wSiO.sub.2 :yH.sub.2 OFormula 2

where "M", "n" and "y" are the same as above and "w" is a value greater than about 3 up to about 6. The SiO2 /Al2 O3 mole ratio for type Y structured zeolites can thus be from about 3 to about 6. For both zeolites, the cation "M" may be one or more of a variety of cations but, as the zeolites are initially prepared, the cation "M" is also usually predominately sodium. The type Y zeolite containing predominately sodium cations at the exchangeable cationic sites is, therefore, referred to as a sodium-exchanged type-Y, or NaY, zeolite. Depending upon the purity of the reactants used to make the zeolite, other cations mentioned above may be present, however, as impurities.

The zeolites useful in the invention are typical as described above. However, the exchange of the cation of the as-manufactured zeolite by ions from Group IA or IIA, e.g., barium or potassium or mixtures thereof, is necessary to achieve the separation.

Typically, adsorbents used in separative processes contain the crystalline material dispersed in an amorphous, inorganic matrix or binder, having channels and cavities therein which enable liquid access to the crystalline material. Silica, alumina, clay or mixtures thereof are typical of such inorganic matrix materials. The binder aids in forming or agglomerating the crystalline particles which otherwise would comprise a fine powder. The adsorbent may thus be in the form of particles such as extrudates, aggregates, tablets, macrospheres or granules having a desired particle range, preferably from about 16 to about 60 mesh (Standard U.S. Mesh) (1.9 mm to 250 micron).

Feed mixtures which can be utilized in the process of this invention will comprise para-xylene, at least one other C8 aromatic isomer, and may also contain one or more C9 aromatics as impurities. Mixtures containing substantial quantities of para-xylene and other C8 aromatic isomers and C9 aromatics generally are produced by reforming and isomerization processes, processes which are well known to the refining and petrochemical arts. Many of the C9 aromatics have boiling points in the range of 160°-170° C. and cannot be easily removed by distillation from the standard desorbent, p-diethylbenzene. In the current process, therefore, the C9 's are usually removed from the feed by distillation before the adsorptive separation and consequent contact with the normal desorbent. I have discovered a desorbent which can be easily separated from the C9 aromatics by fractionation and does not require the large column and quantity of utilities to pretreat the feed, resulting in substantial cost savings.

Reforming processes can provide feed mixtures for the process of this invention. In reforming processes, a naphtha feed is contacted with a platinum-halogen-containing catalyst at severities selected to produce an effluent containing C8 aromatic isomers. Generally, the reformate is then fractionated to concentrate the C8 aromatic isomers in a C8 fraction which will contain the C8 aromatic isomers as well as C8 nonaromatics and C9 aromatics. Feed mixtures for the process of this invention may also be obtained from isomerization and transalkylation processes. Xylene mixtures which are deficient in one or more isomers can be isomerized, at isomerization conditions, to produce an effluent containing the C8 aromatic isomers, e.g., enriched in p-xylene, as well as C8 nonaromatics and C9 aromatics. The C9 aromatic content of isomerized xylene isomers can be as much as 1-2% depending on isomerization conditions. Likewise, transalkylation of mixtures of C7 and C9 aromatics produces xylene isomers which contain C9 aromatics. In all of these catalytic processes, the xylene splitter column must be employed to remove C.sub. 9 aromatics from C8 aromatics before conventional adsorptive xylene separation methods can be employed. Thus, the feed mixtures to the process of this invention can contain quantities of C9 aromatics and may also contain quantities of straight or branched chain paraffins, cycloparaffins, or olefinic material. It is preferable to have these quantities at a minimum amount in order to prevent contamination of products from this process by materials which are not selectively adsorbed or separated by the adsorbent. Preferably, the above-mentioned contaminants should be less than about 20% of the volume of the feed mixture passed into the process.

To separate the para-xylene from a feed mixture containing para-xylene, at least one other C8 aromatic and C9 aromatics, the mixture is contacted with the adsorbent at adsorption conditions and the para-xylene (and para-ethyltoluene, if present) is more selectively adsorbed and retained by the adsorbent while the other components are relatively unadsorbed and are removed from the interstitial void spaces between the particles of adsorbent and from the surface of the adsorbent. The adsorbent containing the more selectively adsorbed para-xylene is referred to as a "rich" adsorbent--rich in the more selectively adsorbed para-xylene. The para-xylene is then recovered from the rich adsorbent by contacting the rich adsorbent with a desorbent material at desorption conditions.

In this process, which employs zeolitic adsorbents and which is generally operated continuously at substantially constant pressures and temperatures to ensure liquid phase, the desorbent material relied upon must be judiciously selected to satisfy several criteria. First, the desorbent material should displace an extract component from the adsorbent with reasonable mass flow rates without itself being so strongly adsorbed as to unduly prevent the extract component from displacing the desorbent material in a following adsorption cycle. Secondly, the desorbent material must be compatible with the particular adsorbent and the particular feed mixture. More specifically, they must not reduce or destroy the critical selectivity of the adsorbent for an extract component with respect to the raffinate component or react chemically with the feed components. Desorbent materials should additionally be easily separable from the feed mixture that is passed into the process. Both the raffinate components and the extract components are typically removed from the adsorbent in admixture with desorbent material and without a method of separating at least a portion of desorbent material, the purity of the extract product and the raffinate product would not be very high nor would the desorbent material be available for reuse in the process. It is, therefore, contemplated that any desorbent material used in this process will have a substantially different average boiling point than that of the feed mixture or any of its components, i.e., more than about 5° difference, to allow separation of at least a portion of the desorbent material from feed components in the extract and raffinate streams by simple fractional distillation, thereby permitting reuse of desorbent material in the process.

Finally, desorbent materials should be readily available and reasonable in cost. However, a suitable desorbent or desorbents for a particular separation with specific adsorbent are not always predictable. In the preferred isothermal, isobaric, liquid-phase operation of the process of this invention, when the feed material to the separation process contains more than about 0.1% C9 aromatics, I have found that a desorbent material comprising diethyltoluene (individual isomers or mixtures thereof) will desorb the extract from the adsorbent and can be separated from C9 's by distillation. It has been found that three of the possible isomers of diethyltoluene have improved ability to desorb p-xylene. Those isomers are 2,3-DET, 2,5-DET and 2,6-DET. The preferred desorbent material for this separation is a mixture of individual isomers containing a total of at least about 40% (wt.) of one or more of the preferred isomers, 2,3-DET, 2,5-DET or 2,6-DET.

Adsorption conditions will include a temperature range of from about 20° to about 250° C. with about 60° to about 200° C. being more preferred and a pressure just sufficient to maintain liquid phase, which may be from about atmospheric to 600 psig. Desorption conditions will include the same range of temperatures and pressure as used for adsorption conditions.

A dynamic testing apparatus is employed to test various adsorbents and desorbent material with a particular feed mixture to measure the adsorbent characteristics of adsorptive capacity and exchange rate. The apparatus consists of a helical adsorbent chamber of approximately 70 cc volume having inlet and outlet portions at opposite ends of the chamber. The chamber is contained within a temperature control means and, in addition, pressure control equipment is used to operate the chamber at a constant predetermined pressure. Quantitative and qualitative equipment, such as refractometers, polarimeters, chromatographs, etc., can be attached to the outlet line of the chamber and used to analyze, "on-stream", the effluent stream leaving the adsorbent chamber.

A pulse test, performed using this apparatus and the following general procedure, is used to determine data, e.g., selectivities, for various adsorbent systems. The adsorbent is filled to equilibrium with a particular desorbent by passing the desorbent material through the adsorbent chamber. At a convenient time, a pulse of feed containing known concentrations of a tracer and of a particular extract component or of a raffinate component, or both, all diluted in desorbent material is injected for a duration of several minutes. Desorbent flow is resumed, and the tracer and the extract and raffinate components are eluted as in a liquid-solid chromatographic operation. The effluent can be analyzed by on-stream chromatographic equipment and traces of the envelopes of corresponding component peaks developed. Alternatively, effluent samples can be collected periodically and later analyzed separately by gas chromatography.

From information derived from the test, adsorbent performance can be rated in terms of void volume, retention volume for an extract or a raffinate component, and the rate of desorption of an extract component from the adsorbent and selectivity. Void volume is the non-selective volume of the adsorbent, which is expressed by the amount of desorbent pumped during the interval from initial flow to the center of the peak envelope of the tracer. The net retention volume of an extract or a raffinate component may be characterized by the distance between the center of the peak envelope (gross retention volume) of the extract or raffinate component and the center of the peak envelope (void volume) of the tracer component or some other known reference point. It is expressed in terms of the volume in cubic centimeters of desorbent material pumped during this time interval represented by the distance between the peak envelopes. The rate of exchange or desorption rate of an extract component with the desorbent material can generally be characterized by the width of the peak envelopes at half intensity. The narrower the peak width, the faster the desorption rate. The desorption rate can also be characterized by the distance between the center of the tracer peak envelope and the disappearance of an extract component which has just been desorbed. This distance is again the volume of desorbent material pumped during this time interval. Selectivity, β, is determined by the ratio of the net retention volumes of the more strongly adsorbed component to each of the other components.

The following non-limiting examples are presented to illustrate the process of the present invention and are not intended to unduly restrict the scope of the claims attached hereto.

EXAMPLE I

In this experiment, a pulse test, using the apparatus as described above, was performed to evaluate the ability of the present invention to separate para-xylene (b.p. 138° C.) from the other xylene isomers and ethylbenzene (b.p's. from 136°-145° C.) and from C9 aromatics. The adsorbent used was a Y faujasite exchanged with potassium, dried at 400°-450° C., combined with 15 wt. % of an amorphous clay binder.

For each pulse test, the column was maintained at a temperature of 150° C. and at a pressure of 165 psig so as to maintain liquid-phase operations. Gas chromatographic analysis equipment was attached to the column effluent stream in order to determine the composition of the effluent material at given time intervals. The feed mixture employed for each test was 5 cc of a mixture containing 0.45 cc each of the xylene isomers and ethylbenzene and each of the following C9 aromatics: cumene, n-propylbenzene, p-ethyltoluene, mesitylene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene and 1,2,3-trimethylbenzene. Normal nonane (0.45 cc) was used as a tracer and 4.95 cc desorbent material was added to the feed. The desorbent material comprised 30 vol. % of a diethyltoluene (DET) isomer mixture with the remainder being n-C7 paraffin. The DET isomer distribution of the desorbent was that of mixture A, Table 1.

              TABLE 1______________________________________DESORBENT ISOMER DISTRIBUTION (DET BASIS)            A    B______________________________________3,5-DET:           48.4   18.22,4- + 3,4-DET:     1.0    3.92,3-DET:            7.5    7.12,5-DET:           18.9   40.92,6-DET:           24.2   29.9______________________________________

The operations taking place for the test were as follows: The desorbent material was run continuously at a rate of about 1.2 cc per minute. At some convenient time interval, the desorbent was stopped and the feed mixture was run for a 4.2 minute interval. The desorbent stream was then resumed and continued to pass into the adsorbent column until all of the feed aromatics had been eluted from the column as determined by chromatographic analysis of the effluent material leaving the adsorption column.

The results of the tests shown in Table 2 and the chromatographic tracing of FIG. 1 illustrate the invention. The table lists the gross retention volume (GRV) and net retention volume (NRV) for each component of the feed and, β, for each component with respect to the reference, p-xylene.

In the drawings, the traces for the components are numbered as follows: n-nonane 1; mesitylene 2, m-xylene 3; o-xylene 4; 1,2,3-trimethylbenzene 5; 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene 6; n-propylbenzene 7; ethylbenzene 8; cumene 9; p-xylene 10; p-ethyltoluene 11.

                                  TABLE 2__________________________________________________________________________       Gross  Net       Retention              Retention                     Selectivity                            BoilingComponent   Volume (ml)              Volume (ml)                     (Beta) Point(°C.)__________________________________________________________________________n-Nonane    46.9   0.0    0.00 (Tracer)Ethylbenzene       73.8   26.9   1.86   136p-Xylene    97.0   50.1   1.00 (Ref.)                            138Cumene      72.5   25.6   1.96   153o-Xylene    59.0   12.1   4.14   144n-Propylbenzene       66.9   20.0   2.50   159p-Ethyltoluene       128.8  81.9   0.61   162Mesitylene  53.4   6.5    7.69   1631,2,4-Trimethylbenzene       66.8   19.8   2.52   1681,2,3-Trimethylbenzene       61.4   14.5   3.45   175m-Xylene    57.3   10.3   4.84   139__________________________________________________________________________
EXAMPLE II

Another pulse test was run under the same conditions and with the same feed mixture as Example I, except that the desorbent was 100% diethyltoluene with isomer distribution B (Table 1) and the adsorbent was BaX.

The results of the test are shown in Table 3 and FIG. 2. The component traces in FIG. 2 are numbered as stated above in Example I.

              TABLE 3______________________________________         Gross      Net         Retention  Retention         Volume     Volume   SelectivityComponent     (ml)       (ml)     (Beta)______________________________________n-Nonane      41.3       0.0      0.00Ethylbenzene  56.7       15.4     1.52p-Xylene      64.6       23.3     1.00Cumene        58.3       17.0     1.37o-Xylene      48.5       7.2      3.25n-Propylbenzene         50.4       9.1      2.56p-Ethyltoluene         69.0       27.7     0.84Mesitylene    44.0       2.6      8.801,2,4-Trimethylbenzene         47.9       6.6      3.531,2,3-Trimethylbenzene         46.8       5.4      4.28m-Xylene      47.9       6.6      3.53______________________________________
EXAMPLE III

In an effort to pinpoint those DET isomers which might be most effective in separating p-xylene from its isomers, a pulse test was run, in the manner previously described, to separate the isomers of DET using p-xylene (the desired extract of the separation process of the invention) as the desorbent. The adsorbent was the same as used in Example II. It has previously been observed that the best desorbent for desorbing the preferentially adsorbed component in a separation of particular components has a selectivity with respect to the adsorbent about the same as, or slightly less than, the extract component. It was reasoned, therefore, that if the individual isomers of the desorbent are separated on the same adsorbent used to separate the xylene isomers, and the extract component, p-xylene, of the latter separation is used as the desorbent, the more strongly adsorbed DET isomers will be the preferred isomers in the p-xylene separation. The results of the separation of the isomers of DET with p-xylene as desorbent are shown in FIG. 3 and the following Table 4, under the headings GRV (gross retention volume), NRV (net retention volume), width of peak at one half height and β (selectivity).

              TABLE 4______________________________________        Gross      Net        Retention  Retention  SelectivityComponent    Volume (ml)                   Volume (ml)                              (Beta)______________________________________n-C.sub.12   36.7       0.0        Tracer3,5-Diethyltoluene        42.6       5.9        1.00 (Ref.)p-Cymene     44.3       7.6        0.782,3-Diethyltoluene        53.1       16.5       0.362,6-Diethyltoluene        51.0       14.4       0.412,5-Diethyltoluene        53.6       16.9       0.35Other, DET isomer        49.3       12.7       0.47Other, DET isomer        48.7       12.1       0.49______________________________________

As will be seen from the data, the individual isomers, 2,3-DET, 2,5-DET and 2,6-DET are separated together as the extract and hence, have virtually identical selectivities with respect to p-xylene.

The conclusion drawn from the above experiment was confirmed by conducting two further pulse tests, each under the same conditions and the same adsorbent, Ba-exchanged X zeolite, to separate a mixture of xylene isomers. In the first run, the desorbent was a 30/70 DET/n-C7 mixture having a large amount of a less effective DET isomer, 3,5-DET and approximately 52% of a mixture of the preferred isomers having the following DET composition (by wt.): 46.48% 3,5 DET; 25.03% 2,6-DET; 19.04% 2,5-DET; 8.10% 2,3-DET and 1.35% 2,4-DET plus 3,4-DET. In the second run, the concentration of preferred isomers in the DET/n-C7 mixture was increased for a total of approximately 98% (wt); the concentration (by wt.) of the DET mixture was as follows: 1.77% 3,5-DET; 13.56% 2,6-DET and 84.67% 2,5-DET. The results are shown in FIG. 4 and Table 5; the results of the second run are shown in FIG. 5 and Table 6.

              TABLE 5______________________________________    Gross    Retention Net    Volume    Retention  Width at                                SelectivityComponent    (ml)      Volume (ml)                         1/2 Height                                (Beta)______________________________________n-C.sub.9    36.9       0.0        6.13  TracerEthylbenzene    74.3      37.4       15.37  1.49p-Xylene 92.6      55.7       19.90  1.00 (Ref.)m-Xylene 58.6      21.7       12.17  2.57o-Xylene 62.3      25.4       10.64  2.19______________________________________

              TABLE 6______________________________________    Gross    Retention Net    Volume    Retention  Width at                                SelectivityComponent    (ml)      Volume (ml)                         1/2 Height                                (Beta)______________________________________n-C.sub.9    40.8       0.0        9.84  TracerEthylbenzene    67.6      26.8       15.04  1.69p-Xylene 86.1      45.3       19.34  1.00 (Ref.)m-Xylene 56.9      16.0       11.54  2.82o-Xylene 58.9      18.1       11.73  2.50______________________________________

As seen from the results above, selectivity (β) for p-xylene was increased over the other xylene isomers and ethylbenzene, and the rate of desorption was increased, indicating shortened cycle time for the separation with the preferred isomers.

In a set of experiments patterned after Example III, the same results were observed for K-exchanged Y zeolites, viz, 2,3-DET, 2,5-DET and 2,6-DET are the preferred individual isomers for use in the invention.

Claims (12)

What is claimed is:
1. A process for separating p-xylene from a mixture comprising C9 aromatic hydrocarbons, p-xylene and at least one other isomer of xylene which process comprises contacting said mixture with an adsorbent crystalline aluminosilicate containing a Group IA or IIA metal ion at exchangeable cationic sites at adsorption conditions to effect the selective adsorption of said p-xylene by said adsorbent and to produce a raffinate stream comprising the less strongly adsorbed C9 hydrocarbons and said other xylene isomers and contacting said adsorbent with a desorbent comprising at least about 40 wt. % of individual isomers selected from the group consisting of 2,3-diethyltoluene, 2,5-diethyltoluene and 2,6-diethyltoluene and mixtures thereof at desorption conditions, to effect the removal of p-xylene from said adsorbent as an extract stream.
2. The process of claim 1 wherein said adsorbent is selected from the group consisting of type X and type Y zeolites.
3. The process of claim 1 wherein a second extract stream is recovered comprising more strongly held C9 aromatic hydrocarbons.
4. The process of claim 2 wherein said zeolite is exchanged with potassium at exchangeable sites.
5. The process of claim 2 wherein said zeolite is exchanged with barium at said exchangeable sites.
6. A process for separating p-xylene from a feed mixture comprising C9 aromatic hydrocarbons and p-xylene which process comprises contacting said mixture with an adsorbent comprising crystalline aluminosilicate containing a Group IA or IIA metal ions at exchangeable cationic sites at adsorption conditions to effect the selective adsorption of said p-xylene by said adsorbent and to produce a raffinate stream comprising the less strongly adsorbed C9 hydrocarbons and thereafter contacting said adsorbent with a desorbent comprising at least about 40 wt. % of individual isomers selected from the group consisting of 2,3-diethyltoluene, 2,5-diethyltoluene and 2,6-diethyltoluene and mixtures thereof at desorption conditions to effect the removal of p-xylene from said adsorbent as an extract stream.
7. The process of claim 6 wherein said adsorbent is selected from the group consisting of type X and type Y zeolites.
8. The process of claim 6 wherein a second extract stream is recovered comprising more strongly held C9 aromatic hydrocarbons.
9. The process of claim 6 wherein said feed contains other xylene isomers and said other xylene isomers are recovered in said raffinate stream.
10. In a process for separating para-xylene from a feed mixture comprising para-xylene and at least one other xylene isomer, which process comprises contacting, at adsorption conditions, said feed with an adsorbent comprising an X- or Y-type crystalline aluminosilicate (zeolite) containing a Group IA or IIA metal at exchangeable cationic sites which selectively adsorbs said para-xylene, removing said feed from said adsorbent, and recovering said para-xylene by desorption at desorption conditions with a desorbent material, the improvement comprising utilizing at least about 40% (wt.) of individual isomers selected from the group consisting of 2,3-diethyltoluene, 2,5-diethyltoluene and 2,6-diethyltoluene as desorbent to separate a feed additionally containing at least one C9 aromatic hydrocarbon isomer, recovering the less strongly adsorbed C9 aromatic feed materials and said other xylene isomer in the raffinate and fractionating said raffinate to recover C9 aromatic hydrocarbons, said desorbent material and said other xylene isomers and recycling said desorbent material to the desorption step of said process.
11. The process of claim 8 wherein a second extract stream is recovered comprising more strongly held C9 aromatic hydrocarbons.
12. In an improved process for the separation of para-xylene from a feed containing a mixture of para-xylene and at least one other C8 aromatic hydrocarbon, which process employs a crystalline aluminosilicate adsorbent selected from the group consisting of type X and type Y structured zeolites containing Group IA or IIA metal cations at the exchangeable cationic sites within said zeolite, said process comprising the steps of:
i. contacting said adsorbent with said feed;
ii. removing a raffinate material, which comprises the less selectively adsorbed components of the feed from said adsorbent while simultaneously adsorbing said para-xylene and
iii. contacting said adsorbent with a desorbent material at desorption conditions to effect the displacing of said para-xylene from said adsorbent while simultaneously removing extract material from said adsorbent comprising desorbent and para-xylene; the improvement which comprises employing a desorbent material containing at least about 40% of individual isomers of diethyltoluene selected from the group consisting of 2,3-diethyltoluene, 2,5-diethyltoluene and 2,6-diethyltoluene and mixtures thereof, to separate a feed additionally containing at least one C9 aromatic hydrocarbon isomer, recovering said C9 aromatics in the raffinate and fractionating said raffinate to recover C9 aromatic hydrocarbon isomers, said desorbent material and said other C8 aromatic hydrocarbon isomers and recycling said desorbent material substantially free of C9 aromatic hydrocarbons to the desorption step of said process.
US07389024 1988-05-23 1989-08-03 Zeolitic para-xylene separation with diethyltoluene heavy desorbent Expired - Fee Related US5012038A (en)

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EP19890308030 EP0412215B1 (en) 1988-05-23 1989-08-07 Adsorptive separation of para-xylene.
CA 607687 CA1328082C (en) 1988-05-23 1989-08-07 Adsorptive separation of para-xylene using diethyltoluene desorbent
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US5171922A (en) * 1991-11-14 1992-12-15 Uop Process for separating para-xylene from a C8 and C9 aromatic mixture
US5177295A (en) * 1991-12-23 1993-01-05 Uop Process for separating para-xylene from a C8 and C9 aromatic mixture
US5495061A (en) * 1994-10-11 1996-02-27 Uop Adsorptive separation of para-xylene with high boiling desorbents
US5849981A (en) * 1994-10-11 1998-12-15 Uop Llc Adsorptive separation of para-xylene using isopropylbenzene desorbent
US6036865A (en) * 1998-06-15 2000-03-14 Union Carbide Chemicals & Plastics Technology Corporation Separation processes
US6045703A (en) * 1998-06-15 2000-04-04 Union Carbide Chemicals & Plastics Technology Corporation Separation processes
US6403856B1 (en) * 1998-10-19 2002-06-11 Uop Llc Process for separating alkylaromatic hydrocarbons
US20090326306A1 (en) * 2008-06-26 2009-12-31 Leonid Bresler Process for separating para-xylene from a mixture of C8 and C9 aromatic hydrocarbons
US20090324457A1 (en) * 2008-06-26 2009-12-31 Leonid Bresler Apparatus for Separating Para-Xylene From a Mixture of C8 and C9 Aromatic Hydrocarbons
US20100249483A1 (en) * 2009-03-31 2010-09-30 Uop Llc Process for Separating Para-Xylene from a Mixture of C8 and C9 Aromatic Hydrocarbons
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